Monday, November 12, 2018

Shenandoah Valley Recognizes Veterans

Shenandoah Valley School District held their annual Veterans Day program Monday morning.

The program was held in the school's auditorium in front of the Junior and Senior classes.  Members of the American Legion Anthony P. Damato, Medal of Honor Post 792, Shenandoah, participated.

The program was opened by emcee Sean James and the ceremonial ringing of the chimes.

The Shenandoah Valley Band, under the direction of John Shoener, played the Star Spangled Banner before leading everyone in the Pledge of Allegiance.

An integral part of Shenandoah Valley's program is the acknowledgment of soldiers that are listed as Missing in Action.

Members of the honor guard approached the front of the auditorium where two candles were lit and an American Flag was presented.

"At this ceremony, we set a table and reserve a seat to acknowledge that presence of those brave men and women that are not physically present, but most certainly are here in spirit.  They will remain forever in our thoughts and prayers." said James.

Mayor Andrew Szczyglak welcomed the veterans, students, and teachers in attendance, but focused on the students.

"To the students that are here today, when the service is over today, walk up to the front row and shake the hands of the veterans here today.  Thank them for their service and dedication, and some of them who gave their lives to make our country great." said Szczyglak.

Commander of the Shenandoah American Legion, Bruce Popalis, provided the opening remarks.

A musical tribute was presented by the Shenandoah Valley Band that was dedicated to the men and women serving in the various branches of the armed forces.

Emily Demalis, a Shenandoah Valley student, introduced her uncle, the special speaker for the program, Joe Demalis.

Demalis is a 1992 Shenandoah Valley graduate who is currently serving as the Superintendent of the Air Force Office of Special Investigations at the Quantico Marine Corps Installation in Virginia, which serves as the Air Force's sole investigative and counter intelligence/counter terrorism threat-reporting integration mechanism.

Demalis' current rank is Chief Master Sergeant, which is the highest rank a non-commissioned office can achieve.  He has been deployed numerous times to nine locations in support of various Operations such as Southern Watch, Enduring Freedom, and Iraqi Freedom.

Demalis talked to the students about graduating from Shenandoah Valley and the educators that got him to where he is today.

He also talked to the students about the difference between Armed Forces Day, Veteran's Day, and Memorial Day and the importance of recognizing the Veterans in our area.

Commander Popalis conducted the requiem roll call of those Veterans that have passed since last Veterans Day.

Kahy Selbi, from the Shenandoah Valley Band, played "Taps".

Student council members Emily Demalis and Kaitlyn Hepler announced the launching of their "Helping Our Heroes" campaign.  The campaign will be collecting items to create care packages for soldiers.

Jacqueline Bubnis, accompanied by the Shenandoah Valley Band performed "Eternal Father".

The program concluded with a benediction by Veteran Neil Smith.

After the program, all the students walked to the front auditorium to thank the veterans for their service.

The veterans that were in attendance were:
 - Joe Chowanas
 - Joe Coddington
 - Jim McGuire
 - Charles Gort
 - Daniel Krauson
 - Neal Smith
 - Bruce Popalis
 - Edward Bickowski
 - Gordon Slater
 - Rich Stevens
 - Bill Paul

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